PROVIDENCE— Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts issued the following statement today on the passage of H.R. 3, the DeGette-Castle-Langevin Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.
“I am so pleased that Democratic leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives, including my friend Congressman Jim Langevin, have included lifting the federal ban on embryonic stem cell research in its 100 Hours legislative agenda. The passage of this bill gives hope to millions of Americans who are suffering from a host of difficult and life-threatening diseases. Our country’s most brilliant scientific minds, empowered with federal funding, might now have the resources necessary to carry out this critically important research.
Rhode Island is a leader in biomedical research and is poised to become a leader in stem cell research. Passing this legislation has the potential to leverage our research hospitals, private investments, and intellectual capital to create jobs and relieve the suffering of those afflicted with juvenile diabetes, Parkinson’s and other diseases that embryonic stem cell research shows promise in treating.
As I promised during the campaign, during these first 100 days in office, I will be working closely with key Rhode Island legislators, as well as Congressman Langevin, to examine biomedical research and growth prospects here in the state. I look forward to meeting next week with Congressman Langevin’s staff, as well as Reps. Art Handy (Cranston), Eileen Naughton (Warwick), and Raymond Sullivan (Coventry), who will spearhead the RI Study Commission Task Force on Stem Cell Research. Together, I am confident that we can expand embryonic stem cell research.”
Roberts encourages continued research using adult stem cells that have been used to treat cancer for over 30 years. Roberts believes adult stem cell research already being performed in Rhode Island can be expanded to increase the amount of research dollars available from sources like the National Institute of Health. Rhode Island consistently ranks in the top 6 states for research dollars, but the difference from Massachusetts (first) is over $230 per capita (2005). By increasing stem cell and other biomedical research, Rhode Island would move up in the rankings. If Rhode Island were to pass North Carolina for 5th place, an extra $8.4 million in research would be contributed to the Rhode Island economy.